Thursday, 3 May 2012

Draw Something! [ANDROID REVIEW]

What's It All About Then?
Mobile social drawing game that has swept the globe - with over 10 million downloads and counting. The idea here is that you challenge friends or random users to a game of digital Pictionary.

You are given a list of 3 words (easy, medium and hard) of which you pick 1 and try to create a drawing that the other player can guess. Easy words earn each player 1 coin, medium - 2, and hard - 3. The words will be something like SHOE, WINDMILL, PICASSO - so you could earn an easy coin by drawing a shoe, or aim for more coins by trying to convey Picasso (much more difficult than it sounds btw).

You get a choice of 3 words to try and draw.
When you send a drawing, the other player can watch how you drew the word - even if you scrap the drawing and start again - so you can really convey a story if you draw it right.

To guess each word, you are given a selection of 12 letters - and you have to arrange them into the required subject.

The coins you earn can be used to buy extra paint colours, or handy "bombs", which allow you to choose new words or make guessing the other players' words easier.

There is a free version of the app, supported with adverts at the top of the play screen - and a paid version, which gives you more word choices, bombs and no adverts.

Is It Any Good?
+++ Social Creativity +++
The main selling point of the game is that you can play against your friends, and really personalise your game experience. Watching how each different player tackles difficult words is great fun - it's really interesting to see how people visualise the elements of a concept and then put them to paper (virtual paper, that is).

As there are only a limited number of words (900 in the free version, a few thousand in the paid version), you get to see several different versions of "Shoe" or "Weed" after a few hours' play. They're normally very different too - does someone draw a pair of stillettos, or a trainer on the end of a leg? Either of them convey the idea perfectly well - but whether it is successful depends on the person who is drawing (and who is guessing).
If your brown blob didn't really convey "hedgehog", you can add an apology afterwards.

+++ Addictive Fun +++
Draw Something! manages to be both fun AND challenging with really simple mechanics. It's a game that is just too tempting to have that one...more....go...

The game isn't invasive - the current games you are playing will just wait until you are ready to take your turn - and you can keep a few games on the go at once.

If you have around 5 games in play at the same time, you can pretty much guarantee that someone has taken their turn every couple of hours, so you can be constantly improving your drawing skills during a working day.

Better than that, each turn is just a few minutes long. You can feasibly take as long as you like, perfecting your drawing (as in the Godzilla below) - but really most simple words can be drawn and guessed within 2 minutes. Therefore even if you just need to kill the short gap before your train arrives, or while you take a quick lunch break - meaning that it fits around your busy lifestyle perfectly.

Basically, it ticks all the boxes. It is perfect for short bursts, allows for creativity a-plenty and is one of the most well-realised social games that I have ever played.
O.K. seriously, no-one does drawings like this.... but it's good to know that you can.
--- Minor Niggles ---
Although all the major game elements are very well-executed, there are still quite a few minor negative points to be made.

The first is that the number of words to guess is a little too limited - in the free version you can see the same words several times in your first 20 games. This doesn't bode well for long-term play, as although you can draw things in many different ways, it's still more fun to try to "Draw Something!" new.

The second is that the placement of the screen buttons is a little awkward. The colours are very close together - so you can easily select the wrong colour if you have fatter digits. The bomb button in the corner is also a little too close to the letters - so you may end up accidentally wasting a few bombs as you try to make your words.

The final negative is the available word selections. Draw Something! is a global game - I have been playing games with people from Brazil and Sweden. Therefore, certain localised words - such as Godzilla, King Kong and Dustpan - have caused confusion for foreign players. I'm not sure if there's some sort of localisation going on at the other end - such as local languages displayed - but to try and draw Godzilla for someone who's never seen Godzilla is pretty difficult. They either need to limit the word list to truly "global" concepts, or to have local versions of some words, so that it is at least possible to get someone to guess the awkward words.

The game is addictive, creative and FREE!

You can challenge friends, play with random people across the globe - and embarrass yourself in front of all of them as your drawing fails to convey the subject.

There's some minor issues - mainly the word choices - but this doesn't stop you playing.... 
and then playing some more.... 
and then.... just.... one...more...go....

Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any images in this review are subject to relevant copyrights and are kindly provided by:

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